At my place of employment we have pretty good health insurance, which I am grateful for. I am also grateful that I live in a state that covers fertility treatments (which is still an ongoing process and I will update soon). However, because of the insurance we have I am not eligible for an HSA (Health Savings Account). Health Savings Accounts are really only available for people who have health insurance plans with high deductibles (e.g. $3000 or more…I think). Although I like the idea of an HSA I am glad, in my respects, that I don’t need it.
However, we do have a flexible spending option at my place of employment. The flex spending account is basically a pre-tax savings account good for that tax year in which you are enrolled. You can set money aside for medical issues like co-payments, glasses, etc. Because of the impending fertility treatments, Mrs. ROB has medications, and goes to a lot more appointments than I do we thought it would be a good idea to sign up for it.
For the past three years we have. You can have a maximum benefit of $2500 for the year. In 2013 we did $1000, 2014 $1500, and $2015 $2000.
We receive a debit card at the beginning of the year with whatever benefit amount we chose and then every paycheck I have x amount of dollars taken out. We typically use the money within the first six to nine months of the year so that isn’t the issue.
Our biggest issue is the company itself. In 2014 my employer switched to a new FSA company. And since then we have had issues.
On no less than six different occasions within the past six months have I had to file extra paperwork so they would process our claim.
So here is what happens. Mrs. ROB, typically, will use the spending account for co-pays (which typically aren’t the problem), new contacts, glasses, or medications, and she has used the account for a special medical program she is on.
All of this is prescribed by a doctor. When Mrs. ROB has used the card she has been denied because of the service not being covered or they have let her use it but I get a note saying they need more documentation. For example, Mrs. ROB bought a couple of new pairs of glasses online (because they are cheaper) a few weeks ago. While the FSA paid the initial claim I had to provide them with three different types of paperwork because the date wasn’t on one of the initial invoices.
We are currently dealing with a situation where we have a dispute over a $400 payment. I have provided documentation (a letter from the doctor, etc, etc) on six different occasions. Each time they say it is not enough.
So what happens is that they will either suspend the debit card we use (we have already used this fiscal year’s money anyway) or we have to PAY them to reinstate the card.
Yes, you read that right. I have to literally send a check to them to basically reimburse MYSELF!!! I have had to do this on two different occasions.
So Mrs. ROB and I basically have a decision to make. Even though we have renewed our flex spending account for $2000 starting on July 1st I am seriously thinking about cancelling it, partly because of this recent conflict we are having. I will basically have to send our flexible spending account money to cover the cost of a medical expense already paid for, but they argue I haven’t provided the right paperwork. I have to again reimburse myself even though this is MY money.
Truth be told I am not sure I can even cancel because we did renew it and fill out the paperwork. I have put in a question to my HR department about this, but frankly the pre-tax benefits might not be worth it. I (and Mrs. ROB) would rather have the extra $150 in my paycheck to pay bills on our own. I already put in a certain amount in our budget each month for my wife’s health expenses.
Flexible Spending Accounts can be wonderful things and I admire people that it is working for. I am just not sure it is worth it for us.